Notes From Knicks 96-79 Loss to Raptors/ Knicks-Pistons Game Preview

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJHlsYgYKP8]

The above video basically signifies what happened to New York last night. They were in the fight, but then got knocked out in the 3rd quarter and hilariously flailed around the rest of the game. All of the sudden, “Woodyball” isn’t looking so good.

The Knicks previously dynamic Woodson-led offense has looked not so dynamic the past two games. Even in a win over Philadelphia, the number one rated defensive team in the league, the Knicks scored just 82 points and shot just 36%. I can give the Knicks a pass, sort of, for their inept offensive fortitude in that game. I cannot do so for last night’s game. Don’t be fooled, the Knicks shouldn’t have even gotten to 79. Late in the game, Toronto had their backups in (which was a virtual D-League roster) the game which allowed the Knicks to get 79 points. At the 2:33 mark of the 4th quarter, the Knicks had 68 points. That is unacceptable and embarrassing.

I understand that this has just been two bad offensive games, but I think there are some glaring weaknesses that the Knicks must shore up.

In this post, I will address what the Knicks did wrong last night and what they need to do tonight against Detroit.

  • Woodson isn’t using Novak correctly. The thing he does that irks me the most, is inserting Baron Davis and Steve Novak into the game at the same time. Davis does not have the chemistry with Novak that Lin does. I don’t understand why I, along with everyone on twitter, realizes this and Woodson doesn’t. Novak is far more effective with Lin running the point. The Knicks, who can’t consistently shoot, need Novak to make his presence felt in every game. He does that better with Lin running the show.
  • Woodson must stop this love affair with Baron Davis. I’m a bay area guy. I lived 10 minutes away from Oracle Arena during the “We Believe” era of Warriors basketball. I love Baron Davis. He was an absolute joy to watch and his production on the court was fantastic. The Knicks don’t have that Baron Davis. This Baron Davis is still a good point guard, but he’s not the guy he used to be. I don’t understand where this love affair between Woodson and Davis comes from. Jeremy Lin got 26 minutes last night while Davis played 22 minutes. Davis has not played well in either of the past two games and has done nothing to warrant more playing time. Woodson must realize that Jeremy Lin makes this offense go. Reducing his role and giving Baron Davis more minutes is not the solution. The Knicks were balling with Lin running the show. He needs to continue running the show.
  • Yesterday, the offense didn’t run though Lin. Many times yesterday, the Knicks would have Lin bring the ball up the court and pass it immediately. Very few times did the Knicks run pick and roll. They have to get back to that. Woodson doesn’t have time to implement a new offense. He must make D’Antoni’s offense work. The strength, and staple, of this offense is the pick and roll. Lin’s strength is the pick and roll and the Knicks must continue to attack defenses with it.
  • Can the Knicks make some shots? The Knicks inconsistency shooting is the most annoying thing ever. One game they’ll shoot 45% from downtown, and then last night they hit 5/28 with Novak hitting all 5 threes. Over the past two games, the Knicks have shot an atrocious 7/41 shooting from downtown. Like the pick and roll, the three point shot is a staple of the Knicks offense. They cannot be successful without it. I can go into ways Woodson can change something, but here’s the bottom line. The Knicks have to hit open shots. When you get to this point in the year, approaching the playoffs, its usually the hottest shooting team thats going to make a run. Dallas did it last season. In order for the Knicks to make a run towards the playoffs and in the playoffs, they have to start consistently hitting three point shots.
  • Iman Shumpert… please stop shooting. I love Iman Shumpert. He’s a fantastic offensive player and brings great energy off the bench. However, he cannot shoot from outside and it infuriates me. Just because he can’t shoot, doesn’t mean he doesn’t try. Shumpert should focus on driving the ball, which he can do well, and finishing at the rim. His athleticism allows him to get into the paint anytime he wants.
  • I was going to write about Robert Randolph and the curse of his horrible music, but this fan post on Posting and Toasting tells you everything you need to know.
  • Melo has to start shooting better. He’s not hitting his jump shot. I have no idea why. There is no excuse, other than a serious family tragedy or something, for Anthony to use for his erratic shooting. He’s been much more effective getting to the rim, which is good, but the Knicks need him to shoot better. Instead of ripping Melo, I’ll just show you his game log. Observe his past 6 games.

  • These above points are all relevant for tonight’s game. Detroit has been playing very well lately. Lawrence Frank has those guys motivated and playing at a high(er) level. Sure, the Pistons have lost 4 in a row, but they had won 4/5 before that. They’re 4 losses in a row have been to Phoenix, the Clippers, Denver and Miami. They held the Heat to 29 point in the second half last night. This is no cakewalk for the Knicks. They are no longer the hunters, they are the hunted. They must play well tonight.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire must dominate Jason Maxiell. Maxiell is shooting 53% this month and is the strong, stalky power forward that has the potential to give Stoudemire fits, a la Tyler Hansbrough or Brandon Bass. Stoudemire has been playing great lately on both ends, but he cannot sleep on Maxiell tonight. Sure, Maxiell isn’t a star player or household name, but he has the potential to have a great game. STAT must work to keep him off the boards tonight. I think Stoudemire can and will do that tonight. If he doesn’t though… watch out.
  • Please, please, please guard Ben Gordon. Yes, Ben Gordon is still in the league. The other night, he scored 45 points on 9/9 shooting against Denver. The Knicks are a good defensive team, but they’ve been prone to strong perimeter shooting all season. Case and point, DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points last night. How sad is that? Gordon is not very consistent, but he can get lethally hot if you don’t check him. The Knicks should be fine with Shumpert, Junior and Fields on Gordon. If they’re not, the Knicks will pay.
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